Talking about intimate subjects is difficult for most of us. Even though I am from California, the state of peace and love, I find it hard to be vulnerable with people, especially but not exclusively, strangers. It probably doesn’t help that I live in a less huggie country now (the UK) and have lost some of those “sharing” muscles. So when I decided to start blogging about my film, an intimate story of my emotional journey during the last three years, to complete strangers, I was terrified! And maybe for the first time I got a glimpse at what coming out might mean to those who use the term to talk about telling the world about another very intimate thing, their sexuality. We all worry about how people see us. None of us want to be criticized, objectified, patronized or rejected.
I am a happy person by nature, someone who tends to focus on the positive and what I can do rather than what I can’t do. But things aren’t always so black and white. I think Shel Silverstein gets it right in his children’s poem where he asks the zebra, “Are you black with white stripes? Or white with black stripes?” In making this film, because it is about my dark journey back into the light, I have been more of the black zebra with white stripes, mostly a sad person with some happy moments. Sharing this film with thousands of strangers exposes my darker moments, and makes me feel stripped naked for the whole world to see. And I don’t like people seeing my pain and sorrow any more than I’d want anyone to see any of my character defects. But it is all in the film, in living color.
I was a successful business person and a happy and fulfilled mom all of my life. Then everything changed. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but it often makes people uncomfortable. However, if I’m ever going to get back to a life more recognizable as my own, I need to live with what others might think of or feel about this journey. Documenting the process of coming back into the world of the happy is partly for me, as a reminder, but mostly for others who might take the seemingly insurmountable journey from a big loss to a life worth living in spite of it.
I thought I could fund the full film myself but I wasn’t able to do so. Whatever financial resources I had went up in smoke with my company. I know I will eventually bounce back, but for now I have to reach out to everyone I know… or knew … or hope to know… and ask for help. This is hard. I still want to be seen as someone who is happy and successful. I think I am, mostly, or will be again. But I can’t finish this film without help. We all need help from time to time. And this is my time. I’m pretty sure that this film is the first step back into another success; I’m very proud of how far I’ve come and how the nearly finished film is looking.
So, there I said it. I need your help. I’ve found safety in this crowd. I know that someone out there will hear me, that I will find other members of my tribe among the strangers who cross my path on the internet, others who are looking for a way out of the darkness and into the light. I’m grateful that my crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter and the internet, through which I can share my stories, have given me an even stronger voice. And sharing my story, as I have done in my film, “In His Footsteps,” has enlarged my circle of friends. One of my new, “viritual” friends coincidentally just forwarded me a link to an inspiring talk she gave about coming out about domestic violence. Our stories are different but coming out in a crowd has shown us both that whatever our darkness, the sunlight comes from sharing with others.